Secrecy surrounds London 2012 ticket demand
Almost half way through the ticket ballot for London 2012 and we still have no real sense of how big or small the public demand is for the Games.
Speaking after the International Olympic Committee had given London another glowing report on preparations so far, The London Organising Committee (Locog) chief executive Paul Deighton refused to give out any details on the number of online applications received or the number of tickets requested.
All he would say is that demand was "strong" and that he and Locog are very happy with where they are. He did add that the next few days would see a ramping up in advertising and promotion as the 26 April deadline draws closer.
But why doesn't Locog tell us how many tickets have been requested? And for what events?
Olympic ticket sales account for a quarter of Locog's budget. Photo: PA
It argues that by offering a running commentary Locog could risk discouraging people from applying if they feel there are still lots of tickets left. Conversely and, perhaps more worryingly for their ticketing systems, they fear creating panic if the message gets around that most of the best events have already gone.
But surely those fears are unfounded when, in principle, no ticket is actually sold until April 26.
People wanting to go to the most popular events like the men's 100metres final, the track cycling or the swimming would have just as much chance if they left it to the last minute as if they did it now. They are likely to be oversubscribed so will go to a random ballot anyhow.
So why the secrecy?
Of course ticket sales are such a crucial part of Locog's £2bn budget, accounting for a quarter of its income, that Deighton and chairman Lord Coe won't do anything which jeopardises them.
Deighton revealed today that by the one year to go milestone in July, 90 per cent of the money Locog needs to stage the Games will have been commited. He said given the difficult economic conditions the organising committee has been facing for the last three years, it was an incredible achievement.
But with costs now the major challenge as Locog enters the home straight, both he and Coe say they are having to pedal very hard just to balance the budget.
Making a profit is not Locog's intention. Deighton's priority is to avoid making any call on Government money thus increasing the £9.3bn public sector funding package for the Olympics.
This may be true. But it is also an extremely useful argument at a time when the British Olympic Association is arguing for a larger share of any surplus from the Games.